Dwayne Johnson is not the hero you think: 'Black Adam' review

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
Dwayne Johnson is not the hero you think: 'Black Adam' review
Dwayne Johnson in "Black Adam"
Warner Bros. Ent.

MANILA, Philippines — The world within the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is about to face a major change, or at least that is what Warner Bros. is trying to push with the introduction of the anti-hero Black Adam, played by Hollywood heavyweight Dwayne Johnson.

In his debut film in the DCEU, Black Adam — a man given the power of the gods — is awoken after 5,000 years, and the members of the Justice Society of America are dispatched to deal with the strong individual fueled by anger and revenge with no moral compass.

Fans have long clamored for Johnson to play Black Adam, best known as the villain of Shazam, simply because of their physical resemblance. After years of development, their dream has come true.

Johnson not only nails Black Adam's appearance, he portrays him with the perfect amount of strength and charisma, with deadpan replies to boot; the former wrestler is clearly meant to be in a superhero movie.

Warner Bros. has claimed over the past couple of months that "Black Adam" would be a gamechanger for the DCEU, yet somehow, by having to do another origin story, the movie does not entirely feel like the scales are tipping.

The film revolves around oppression, whether by power-hungry leaders or Western interference (which is very ironic), and might have done better to dive deeper into the subject.

Beyond the plot movement which feels more basic than comic-friendly, the script treats Black Adam as if he were Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," though a more obvious example is Clint Eastwood in his Westerns.

Related: Dwayne Johnson is all rage in 'Black Adam' trailer

With Black Adam himself receiving more popularity in recent years, the PG rating and existing universe seem to have limited the possibilities to introduce the character, which feels like a lost opportunity when Johnson pulls it off so seamlessly.

Johnson is a tough act — no pun intended — in this capacity. At the expense of mixed exposition, his co-stars like Noah Centineo and Quintessa Swindell are further shifted to the side. They play the roles of Atom Smasher and Cyclone, respectively. 

Rising to Johnson's level are Aldis Hodge as Hawkman and Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Fate, the latter clearly being utilized as much as possible for his acting prowess.

Warner Bros. appeared to learn a thing or two from their collaborations with Zack Snyder ("Justice League") as the slow-motion scenes, grimy cinematography, and action sequences make up the best parts of the film.

Fans will be giddy upon seeing references pulled from comic books and some welcome cameo appearances, with the very last one making the entire viewing absolutely worth it.

On this note, there is indeed a chance for "Black Adam" to grow in the DCEU, no matter how unclear things are without the right creative direction.

Having Johnson on board may be the difference the studio needs amid all its ongoing issues, because a man who has seen highs and lows may be the hero one is looking for.

RELATED: Dwayne Johnson unites DC’s ‘first superhero group’ in Black Adam

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